Airdrie MLAs stayed home for the holidays, as colleagues receive backlash for travel

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Alberta government officials have been the source of backlash and controversy after their non-essential travel over the holidays was made known to the public.

Six MLAs of the United Conservative Party travelled to the U.K., Hawaii, Mexico, Arizona, and Las Vegas to vacation or visit family.

In response, Premier Jason Kenney announced multiple resignations and demotions as a repercussion on Jan. 4.

“Albertans have every right to expect that people in positions of public trust be held to a higher standard of conduct during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Premier Kenney in a statement issued on Twitter.

“Millions of Albertans have made real sacrifices over the past 10 months to help keep each other safe. They are right to be angry about people in positions of leadership vacationing outside of the country.”

He took responsibility for not being clear with government officials that they should not travel abroad.

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While it was not illegal to do so, their actions seemed disrespectful to the Albertans who refrained from travelling or even visiting close family and friends for Christmas.

Alberta Health Services has also recommended that no one travels outside of the country at this time, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I have listened to Albertans who are sending a clear message that they want real consequences for these actions,” said Kenney.

“By travelling abroad over the holidays, these individuals demonstrated extremely poor judgment.”

The resignations of Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard, and Chief of Staff Jamie Huckabay were accepted, as well as the resignations of MLA Jeremy Nixon as Parliamentary Secretary for Civil Society and MLA Jason Stephan from Treasury Board. MLAs Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn, and Tany Yao no longer have Legislature committee responsibilities.

As for the local Airdrie MLAs, both officials issued a statement on how they spent the holidays at home with their families.

“I was at home for the holidays with my husband and kids,” said Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt.

“We’ve done a bit of snowboarding and some home construction, but that’s about it. I haven’t left the province since February.”
Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie also spent Christmas Day and New Year’s at home with his wife and children in Cochrane.

“I understand and appreciate your feelings on this matter,” said Guthrie.

“I would like to assure all constituents that I personally did not leave the country or province over the holidays and adhered to the rules outlined by our public health officials. I do understand the very real sacrifices many have had to endure due to this pandemic and I fully appreciate the frustration constituents have expressed. Pleased be assured that I continue to have Airdrie-Cochrane residents’ interest as my main priority and will continue to advocate for our communities.”